China state firms Jan-Oct profits down 8.3 pct y/y

BEIJING Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:00am EST

BEIJING Nov 15 (Reuters) - Combined profits at China's state-owned non-financial enterprises fell 8.3 percent in the first 10 months of 2012 from a year earlier, easing from an annual fall of 11.4 percent in the January-September period, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.

It followed a raft of economic data last week, which showed China's economy strode further along the road of recovery.

State-owned non-financial firms, defined as those controlled by Beijing and local governments, made a combined profit of 1.75 trillion yuan ($281.12 billion) in the first 10 months, the ministry said in a statement on its website, www.mof.gov.cn

Total profits of those state-owned firms rose 1.7 percent in October compared to September, it added.

Firms in petrochemical, non-ferrous metals, building material, transportation and machinery industries suffered a big drop in profits in the first 10 months, while power, tobacco, automobile and electronics industries posted strong earnings increases.

Total inventories at state-owned firms rose 17.4 percent in the first 10 months from a year ago, increasing slightly from 17.3 percent seen between January and September.

China's state firms still retain their dominance in key industries although the government has been trying to open up such sectors to private investment to help rebalance the economy.

China's big state-owned enterprises argued for continued expansion last week, defending themselves against charges that their firms are in urgent need of reform. ($1 = 6.2252 Chinese yuan) (Reporting By Xiaoyi Shao and Nick Edwards; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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